Sarasota City Manager explores potential new site for Sarasota Orchestra

New Home For Orchestra

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A big question remains unanswered: where will the Sarasota Orchestra go? Staff had their sights set on Payne Park, but many in the community showed out in numbers to stop that move.

Now, the Sarasota City Manager said there’s a new piece of land that might work. They’re the lots that are just off of Fruitville Road, between North School Avenue and U.S. 301.

There are several pieces of land that add up to more than 20 acres in this area. The lots range in size and some are already for sale.

Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin said the proposal from a handful of property owners is to combine lots to equal the five to seven acres the Sarasota Orchestra desires.

“Our research indicates that an urban type of Performing Arts Hall, Orchestra Hall could easily be accommodated by five acres," Barwin explained. "Of course, they have to figure out the parking needs on site, but there would seem to be plenty of area for the disabled parking and the Orchestra Hall, with the 1,000 space garage not far away.”

Barwin said that in terms of economic and cultural vitality, this would really seem to fit the bill, but what does the CEO and President of the Sarasota Orchestra, Joseph McKenna say?

“We will keep everything open, but most importantly we are working towards, on a brisk path, towards finding a solution," McKenna said. "We’re excited and anxious to name that location, so that we can continue the work of delivering a music center for the entire community.”

Though open to considering this location, Mckenna re-iterated that the Sarasota Orchestra is looking for a home that will fit the many needs of their community, their artists and their ever-growing business.

“This is a very complex, 100 year project and the interplay between acreage and parking and timeliness are just a few of the key criteria that we have to work through," McKenna said.

While they don’t have an answer just yet, the Sarasota Orchestra said it’s looking to find one ‘rapidly.’

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